By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
One down, two to go. The Macerich Co. has closed on a previously announced joint venture with GIC, in which the regional mall REIT contributed a 40 percent interest in four properties, and walked away with cash proceeds totaling a whopping $1.5 billion.
The properties involved in the GIC joint venture include two assets in Southern California: the 2 million-square-foot Lakewood Center in Lakewood, just outside of Los Angeles, and the 1.1 million-square-foot Los Cerritos Center in Cerritos, Orange County. The group also encompasses South Plains Mall, a 1.1 million-square-foot property in Lubbock, Tex. And completing the collection is Portland, Oregon’s 1.4 million-square-foot Washington Square, which holds the distinction of being the most successful of the four properties, with average sales per square-foot of $1,133 in the third quarter.
Macerich plans to use the proceeds for share repurchases under its $1.2 billion share repurchase program, and for the paying down of its line of credit. Additionally, Macerich promised two special dividends, and in conjunction with the news of the joint venture closing, the REIT announced it had declared two special dividends of $2.00 per share of common stock each.
There’s more to come on the joint venture front in the near future. Macerich expects to wrap up the remaining two joint ventures in January 2016. One transaction, involving GIC again, will consist of the contribution of a 40 percent interest in Arrowhead Towne Center in Glendale, Ariz. The final joint venture will be with Heitman and will involve Macerich’s contribution of a 49 percent stake in three assets.
“This is an expansion of a long-standing relationship with Heitman and the beginning of a new one with the GIC,” Thomas O’Hern, CFO of Macerich, said during the company’s third quarter earnings call on October 28. “These transactions provide us with significant capital to create additional shareholder value. They also highlight the significant differential between the private and public market valuation of our assets.”
When all is said and done, Macerich will have pocketed $2.3 billion in cash between the three joint venture transactions.